Google Cardboard exec says content will make (or break) VR

The head of partnerships for Google Cardboard says compelling content will ultimately make virtual reality succeed, and he encourages innovative individuals to get going on creating immersive and unique VR experiences.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. — The technologies that let people use their smartphones as virtual reality (VR) viewers are rapidly evolving. The VR content, however, is a big missing piece in the puzzle. Without compelling content, users have little to watch, and they are unlikely to get excited about VR until the situation changes.

"Content is a big question mark right now. This is where we've got a big bottleneck in terms of just the ability to create content … as well as ideas," said Aaron Luber, head of partnerships for Google's Cardboard initiative, at ThinkLA's Trends Breakfast. "Content is one of the most critical pieces of the type of thinking we need to be having in VR today." (Google Cardboard is an inexpensive set of VR headsets that's literally made out of cardboard.)

VR all about the content

Luber thinks creative individuals will play significant roles in the future of VR, but he wouldn't offer suggestions on the types of content they should imagine and eventually create. "I tend to shy away from content questions only because I don't know," he says. "I don't want to hypothesize on what I think is going to be useful and important. We are all brand new to this thing … we are all experiencing VR and getting into this for the first time."

Google doesn't want to put any restrictions on VR, and it is hoping this openness draws the kinds of inventive people it needs to develop the medium. "I'm just eager to see more creative people, not me, come out and do a lot of cool stuff that will start unearthing those things people want to see and do," he says. "I think we're going to see a lot of great things happen."

Consumer awareness around Cardboard slowly grows

Google Cardboard has been available for almost 18 months, but the low-cost VR viewer stands to see its most significant boost this Sunday when The New York Times ships more than 1.3 million units to subscribers. The newspaper developed a 360-degree documentary film titled "The Displaced" about three children uprooted by war, and it plans to add more content during the coming months.

Companies are also embracing Cardboard, which costs Google just $4 to manufacture in bulk, as a tool for marketing, entertainment and education. For example, Volvo handed out more than 10,000 Google Cardboard units at last year's Los Angeles Auto Show, to highlight features of its XC90 model. Legendary Pictures distributed 50,000 units to promote its upcoming film "Warcraft;" AT&T handed out 100,000 units for its "It Can Wait" anti-texting-while-driving campaign; and Google gave out 20,000 units at the Sundance film festival.

VR, Google Cardboard and the future of computing

Google Cardboard is open source, and the company has 15 approved partners on board today, though more than 100 companies currently manufacture their own versions of the viewer, according to Luber.

Google says VR is the future of computing. Its approach, however, is notably different than the other players in the space, with much lower barriers for adoption. "Our mission is to deliver VR to the masses," he says. "The reason we're doing this is not an entertaining thing, it's not a gaming thing… This is an evolution of computing."

It will take a while for VR to hit its stride, according to Luber, but Cardboard and other viewers, such as Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, show real potential and will continue to gain traction.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

4 creative skills that will be useful forever

In recent times, the clarion call from futurists, economists, marketers, educators and leaders the world over is one of slight panic, “The world is changing and you’re not ready for it!” And of course, they make a very good point.

Kieran Flanagan and Dan Gregory

Speakers, trainers, co-authors

Why defining brand strategy is vital to capitalising on quick wins

Big brands were once protected from small brands by high barriers to entry. Big brands had the resources to employ big agencies, to crack big ideas and to invest in big campaigns. They had the luxury of time to debate strategies and work on long-term innovation pipelines. Retailers used to partner with big brands.

Troy McKinnna

Co-founder, Agents of Spring, Calm & Stormy

3 ways to leverage the talents of your team to avoid disruption

​According to the World Economic Forum in its most recent The Future of Jobs report, the most important skills for the future are not technical, task-oriented skills, but higher-order skills such as creativity, social influence, active learning, and analytical thinking.

Gihan Perera

Futurist, leadership consultant

An interesting update considering that today is the easiest way it has ever been to measure contribution to the business as well as the h...

Frederic

State of the CMO 2019: Tenure shortens, pressure is on as marketers strive to demonstrate impact

Read more

I thought this was what Salesforce Audience Studio (formerly Salesforce DMP) was supposed to do. How are a CDP and a DMP different? I'm c...

Tony Ahn

Salesforce announces customer data platform

Read more

Well written Vanessa!! Agreed with your view that human experience is marketing's next frontier. Those businesses who are focused on the ...

Clyde Griffith

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Great tips for tops skills need to develop and stay competitive

Nick

The top skills needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce

Read more

The popularity of loyalty programs is diminishing, though I'd say it is because customers are savvy enough to recognise when a loyalty pr...

Heather

It’s time for marketers to rethink their approach to ‘loyalty’

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in